Tuesday, November 29, 2011


From Facebook to Vogue Knitting to California, the Baltimore Sun article written by Jill Rosen began a whirlwind media blitz that will absolutely thrilli our knitters. A fan , Kathy, from Mercy Hospital, is making photo copies for all the guys. Calls from a nun, a couple of teachers, my sister of course, a cousin of mine who wants to make the project into a Broadway musical, all have been appreciated.


Many knitters , who are notoriously the most generous people, have wanted to donate yarn. Wish we could say yes to all, but we have some very specific requirements. It must be Vanna's Choice, take that Deborah Norville, new complete skeins, and bright colors. The guys are partial to a manly black....ugh.

Our biggest restriction is space. We used to have a supply closet for on site storage, but lately have had to check all supplies in and out every week. So it's a matter of space and taking time away from our allotted 2 hours.

In addition we have received some cash donations, which are always appreciated, because we try to send each former offender a knitting care package, with the hope that he'll continue practicing the zen of knitting. I told Sheila, I'll handle the woo woo, and she'll handle the cash!

Thank you all for you support.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Go to Wullenstudios to purchase the new yarn

Proceeds will benefit our program

Sheila's new yarn - I Fought The Law And The Law Won

“I Fought the Law and the Law Won” is the latest color addition to the W├╝llenstudio Sock line! The color entries were made by Twiceteller. The first skein is on its way to her!! The knitting men of the Jessup Pre-Release Unit chose her entry because if best described their lives: “grass green and sky blue with bars of black between them to symbolize what was taken away.” Many thanks to all of you who participated in the contest!!!

We will be selling this yarn on the W├╝llenstudio Website. The profits from the sale of the yarn go to help support the Knitting Behind Bars Program. For those of you who live out of the the US and would like to purchase this yarn, please PM SheilaR here on Ravelry.

We would like to share with you the friendships we have made, the accomplishments of the men and their adventures through the process of returning to the outside world.

Jessup Pre-Release is a facility where the men may spend up to 3 years before they are released from their incarceration. It also houses men who are handicapped and serving longer sentences.

We have never asked these men what they did to put themselves behind the razor wire. They often tell us what they did when they are ready to trust us. We accept them as they are now, and help them establish friendships and the satisfaction of learning an awesome skill…….KNITTING!

We would like to share with you their personal triumphs and their life accomplishments. We hope you are as proud and astounded as we are. There is no prison reform in Maryland or much of the United States. Certainly not many programs that promote self-esteem, personal development or anger management. We also have begun to develop a mentoring program

Often the conversations we have with them are the same ones we find ourselves having with our other knitting friends in our various other knitting groups! Ooh! What yarn is that? What makes this fiber so soft? Can you teach me to pick up stitches after I drop them? Do you have a pattern for that scarf? How many beads do I put in this section? I just know I need to learn how to knit socks!

Through the generous contributions of the Knitters in Columbia, Maryland, we have contributed over 2,000 books to their once non-existant library, including a full law library! This is a on going venture.

We are self-funded. If you would like to help support our endeavor, you can visit our Etsy shop or our blog, Knitting Behind Bars, or PM me here on Ravelry!

We have been sponsoring this weekly group since November 2009. It is the highlight of our week! Please join us in our journey with the men of JPRU!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Wish we still could bring a camera.

I'll try to describe tonight as best I can. The 20 male inmates came into our space, quickly and quietly. They gathered up their project bags, and just like knitters everywhere, they sat down and began knitting. The quiet and order belies the setting, after all this is jail and these men are all incarcerated.
Before our two hour session ended we looked over where four guys had gathered around one another in a circle. They were intently knitting and we marveled at their concentration. Now these guys are some of our roughest ones, most in need of some anger management therapy but there they all were quiet and polite, knitting and purling and happy as clams. I suspect there are more tattoos per square inch here than anywhere in the world! And best yet, as it was time to clean up and clear out, Speedy, was, like any knitter anywhere, pleading for "just one more row!"
Wish we were still allowed to bring in our camera.....